Military spouse helps other families cope while husband remains deployed

November marks Military Family Appreciation Month – but Hudson Valley service members and their spouses are always giving back year-round.
Staff Sgt. Alfonso Cautillo is on his fifth deployment and won’t be home to celebrate the holidays with his wife Nicole, or their 7-year-old daughter Giana. Nicole Cautillo, a family readiness leader with the National Guard, says staying busy through volunteering is the best thing to do while Alfonso is deployed. She has made it her mission to help other military families.
“I try to be as honest as possible with them that deployment is hard, but you have to find a way through it,” she says. “You have to find a way to be strong for your family member who is overseas.”
Nicole Cautillo’s work includes helping families with benefits in cases of emergency or organizing outings. It’s her way of letting families know that they aren’t alone, though sometimes she needs reminding herself. She went to a wedding recently where couples were invited up to dance with the bride and groom – she had to stay at her table.
“You're looking at all the couples and you're thinking, ‘This is a song we would have danced to,’” she says.
A life of service often means a life a sacrifice. For country and community, Nicole says it’s worth it.
“I would imagine that this is a life filled with high highs and low lows. There is so much pride, valor, and honor. There is also risk and fear…I wouldn't trade it at all," she says.